Frustrated that their illegal campaign is running out of steam, a group of radical "Occupy Central" protesters stormed the Legislative Council (LegCo) building early on Wednesday. This was in a desperate move to boost morale.
An unruly mob of masked men clashed with police after breaking at least three glass doors in the early hours of Wednesday. Injuries were reported on both sides. The assault forced the legislature to cancel its Wednesday meetings.
The premeditated attack on the legislature constitutes a blatant challenge to the rule of law. It is a criminal act no civilized society would tolerate.
In the face of public outrage, leaders from the opposition camp, including those who have been manoeuvring and instigating the "Occupy" movement, were quick to distance themselves from the incident. Rather than trying to dodge responsibility, they should now call off the illegal protests which have dragged on for weeks. After all, they are the ones who have sowed the seeds of lawlessness in Hong Kong society.
The people of Hong Kong have long been known for their respect for law and order. The rule of law has been cherished by the society as one of the key cornerstones of the city's social stability and economic prosperity.
But this has now been shaken to the core by the illegal "Occupy" campaign orchestrated by the opposition camp. To promote their unconstitutional demands, they jeopardized the well-being of society by blocking the city's main traffic arteries.
To justify their illegal actions, key figures from the opposition camp have also deliberately distorted the notion of the rule of law. In defending "Occupy" protesters who had flouted court injunctions to clear the streets, "Occupy" initiator Benny Tai and opposition lawmaker Albert Ho - both law experts - have advocated the idea that citizens are free to break the law as long as they accept their punishments. Tai has also claimed that disobeying a civil court order poses no challenge to the rule of law.
They are, in effect, encouraging people to take the law into their own hands. This idea of lawlessness and a warped notion of the rule of law have given rise to mob politics as evidenced by the attack on the LegCo building.
Concerns over the "Occupy" campaign have been mainly focused on its potential damage to Hong Kong's economy. But the biggest damage of all is mob politics becoming even more prevalent.
Irrational , illegal acts should stop
There are some people, even some powers from foreign countries, behind the "Occupy Central" activities, providing support and resources. It is a dictatorship of democracy to fight for democracy at the cost of law and order. I cannot accept that young students are being used as a tool by the people behind them to tear apart Hong Kong society and thwart Hong Kong's development. I believe there are still opportunities for dialogue between the student union and the government. The deadlock now does neither side any good.
Rita Fan, member of the Standing Committee of National People's Congress, Nov 18
For the uncertain, dreamed, take-for-granted and imponderable future, the "Occupy Central" protesters have exacted a real, existing, certain and ponderable price. This seems not the way capitalist Hong Kong people should behave. "Occupy Central" has its balance sheet. If it continues, the cost will dwarf its benefits. The debit side is building up rapidly with each passing day until no one will dare to promise the campaign's benefits will cover its costs. Then the protest will lose its rationality completely. Their irrational and illegal struggle for rights harms the whole society and is against the overall trend of the times which emphasizes law and order.
Wen Yang, a Beijing-based scholar, from his article published on guancha.cn, Nov 19
Hong Kong residents are law-abiding citizens. Hong Kong society is a rule-of-law society. The "Occupy Central" protesters are apparently violating the law in Hong Kong, as they are against political reform in Hong Kong. They have already clearly expressed their opinions on the general election of Hong Kong in 2017. I do not think they have any reasons to justify their infringements on the laws.
Leung Chun-ying, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Nov 18
The process of realizing democracy is a progressive evolution, rather than a once-for-all "revolution". This is true not only for China, but also for Western countries. The "Occupy Central" protesters should regain their senses, respect the practical conditions and stop all illegal actions. Otherwise, what has been accumulated over the past century through Hong Kong people's hard work will be gone, together with Hong Kong's stability and prosperity and Hong Kong's values that have been passed down as a historical legacy.
Wenweipo.com, Nov 18